Many people don’t realize that dentistry isn’t an all encompassing term. Like many medical professions, there is simply too much information out there for one person to be a master of it all. That’s why it’s common practice for a dentist to choose a specific discipline within dentistry to specialize in. Generally, those specializations can be divided into two main categories: restorative and cosmetic dentistry. What’s the difference between restorative and cosmetic dentistry? Let’s take a closer look. 


Restorative Dentistry

Restorative dentistry is the most common specialisation and refers to dentists that are focused on improving the dental health of their patients. Restorative dentists focus on filling cavities, removing wisdom teeth and general cleanings. These tend to be more junior dentists who fulfill the dentistry needs that most people envision when they think of their dental health. 


Cosmetic Dentistry

Cosmetic dentistry includes restorative practices, but expands the offerings to include procedures that may be less directly tied to oral health, but focus on quality of life improvements for the patient. The most common example of a cosmetic dentistry procedure is teeth whitening. More complicated cosmetic procedures include veneers, bonding and implants. 


It’s worth pointing out that the terms restorative and cosmetic dentistry are colloquial in nature. Many people have heard about these specializations, but formal dental groups like the American Dental Association don’t officially use these terms. They’re used to describe dentists with specific specializations. Any dentist with formal accreditation should be capable of delivering all basic dental needs for their patients. 


Many dentists are skilled in both types of dentistry. However, if you are looking for more advanced procedures, it might be wise to find a dentist who specializes in that kind of work. If you’re looking for more generic oral health, the specializations of your dental practitioner are less important. To learn more visit





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